Bild: Germany’s Merkel wants to extend lockdown until February 15

Clay Curtis
January 21, 2021

The step is a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus and slow the transmission of virus variants considered to be more infectious in the world.

Individuals in shops and on public transport will be required to wear higher-quality medical masks, such as FFP2 respirators, which protect the wearer as well as others, unlike coverings for the nose and mouth.

They also said employers must make it possible for staff work from home wherever it is feasible.

Merkel and state leaders pushed through a longer and revamped lockdown on Tuesday against the backdrop of growing discontent in Germany, especially among parents faced with the challenges of both homeschooling and working from home as well as businesses fearing bankruptcy.

"There are some places of production where workers have to be present but there is much more room for maneuver", said Mueller, adding states aimed to get employees to have to justify why employees had to come to work.

Earlier on Tuesday, Germany's largest tabloid Bild reported Merkel had a hard time arguing with some of the 16 state leaders who disagreed with her on appropriate measures.

The German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said: "The reason is the mutation of the virus that has appeared".

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He added: "It has of course affected us in one way or another, but the players who play in that position always do their best".

Due to concerns over the latest variants discovered in South Africa and Britain.

Under the new restrictions, most shops, schools and non-essential business, such as gyms and sports centres, will remain closed.

Merkel said the number of new coronavirus infections in Germany was gradually reducing, and this was encouraging.

"If countries should decide to take different paths. then you have to be ready to say then, we'll have to reintroduce border controls". The number of deaths was up 989 at 47,622.

Seibert noted on Monday that the incidence rate was still at over 130 per 100,000 people, and that Germany "must more quickly" bring that down to 50.

Experts have been disturbed by data showing that this winter, unlike in the spring when a shutdown seemed to have triggered a dramatic drop in mobility.

Disease control agency Robert Koch Institute and Berlin's Humboldt University have found from data collected from mobile phone signals that last Wednesday, the mobility of Germans was only 15 percent below that from a year ago.

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